1 Good Reason – Social Marketing

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How to Apply for a Social Media Job at A&P

March 7th, 2011 · 1 Comment

A&P Logo

You will notice that I’m going to start writing more about retail and social media than I have in the past.  This is going to be influenced mostly by my new position as the Social Media Manger for A&P.  A&P is a major grocery company in the Northeast US, with over 350 stores under 6 different banners.  I joined A&P at the beginning of February to help kick start the social media outreach and see if we can’t give some of the retail giants in social media a run for their money (you know who you are…)

A&P is going through a reorganization now and it’s a perfect time start a serious social media effort.  Because internally the atmosphere for change has never been better in this 150 year old company than it is today.  And because externally there are a lot questions that our customers have where social media can provide answers.

I’m really looking forward the new challenges and opportunities that working with A&P offers. We are assembling a great team and I’m looking forward to doing some innovative things with social media that have never been done with a grocery store, or a retailer before.  The vistas for social media have never been better.  So if you’re interested in watching what we’re doing you can Like our Facebook pages:





Food Emporium

Food Basics

If you’re interested in joining the new social media effort with A&P please take a look at our job openings and then contact me on the social network of your choice for your best chance. Of course you could go the standard route of submitting your resume via the corporate website, but that’s not exhibiting your social media chops now is it?  You would get my attention much more quickly if you follow me/ friend me on some social network, dig around and find my email address and send it directly to me.  And then Tweet me or Facebook me and tell me to look for your resume.  Because I may have different criteria than the HR Department and perhaps your resume will have a better chance in getting you the interview if you contact me directly.  If you submit to the corporate site, I’ll only see your resume if the HR Department think it’s worth my while.  And for a social media job I’d much rather see you exhibit some expertise in the field.  Believe me I’ll take you much more seriously that way.  And I’d think that anyone, hiring for any job in social media would feel the same way.

As a matter of fact that’s how I got this job in first place.  A friend of mine said A&P was looking and would I be interested?  I took a look and decided that it would be very interesting to work with this company so my resume was networked into the right people.  I never applied for the job on the corporate website.

So if you’re looking for a job in social media, don’t simply apply for the jobs you find on the corporate websites.  Instead find the social media connections into the organization and work those. Get your resume to bypass the stack of thousands that are in the HR Department and put it directly in the hands of the hiring management for the best chance at getting the interview.

And of course with the new full time job I can’t blog nearly as much as I have in the past so I hope that you find that while the quantity is down the quality of the posts is up.  Please let me know if you feel otherwise.

And of course here and now and always the views expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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Who You Should Be Talking To

February 21st, 2011 · 1 Comment

There’s a number that floats around social media known as 90-9-1.  It refers to the percentage of people on any given website that are Lurkers (90%), Contributors (9%) or Creators (1%).  Creators make most of the content on any social network. Contributors will jump in and join the conversation occasionally but generally don’t start things.  I wrote more about this here.

The main body of the people on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network are the Lurkers.  They rarely if ever say anything publicly. Perhaps it’s a fear of public speaking, or a desire for anonymity or something else.  But they rarely say anything.  But they are your real audience.  They are “Who You Should Be Talking To.”

So when someone asks me a question on one of the corporate Facebook pages I’m running I don’t necessarily answer their question outright.  Instead I’m writing for the 90% who read that question and think “Yea I’d like to know the answer to that.”

Often I’ll answer the question that wasn’t asked.  I’ll give the answer that I want everyone in the silent majority to hear. You have to be careful with this because you do need to answer the question you were asked.  But you want to work into your answer the other information that you need to get out to the audience.  In other words don’t be rude, be sure that you answer what was asked, but you can go far beyond that into the info you want everyone to get.

I strongly suggest that you avoid what the Sunday morning talk shows do.  Which is refuse to the answer the question at all, but instead make their statement.  We’ve all heard the politician asked the question about the tough budget and he answers with his stance on abortion.  If you try to do that you’ll get called out for it (said the voice of experience).  So be sure that you don’t stray too far from the original topic.

This technique allows you to respond to the comments that you might ordinarily ignore.  For instance if the occasional person lobs a hand-grenade like “Your products suck!”  You now have an opportunity to say something like, “According to the survey conducted by XYZ most of our customers feel our products are superior to the competition.  But we know we’re not perfect- how would you suggest we can improve?”

The person who threw that particular grenade may or may not answer you.  But you got an opportunity to tell the 90% about that wonderful survey that shows that you’re superior.

And as I’ve said here before, when you show that you’re willing to defend yourself your advocates will come to defend you too.  And the beauty of advocates is that they will take on the really tough ones, the unfair ones, the ones you don’t have a good answer for.   When someone criticizes someone that you like unfairly you want to defend them.  And that’s exactly what your advocates will do.

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A Live Conversation With a Thief

February 1st, 2011 · 6 Comments

A friend of mine on Facebook was hacked today.  And the criminal who took over their account started the old “We’re on vacation and we got mugged can you send money scam” with me via Facebook IM.

I found it extremely frustrating to be chatting with this thief while I tried feverishly to contact this friend on other channels that I hoped weren’t also compromised.  I really hate thieves and talking to this one was infuriating. I wanted to hit a button and send them a huge shock right through their keyboard.

Here is the dialog:

Because this friend is somewhat distant and we’ve not spoken in months I knew at this moment that it was a scam.  My friend wouldn’t call on me for help in this kind of a case.  I’m much too distant a friend to call upon in a case like this.

I decided to string them along while I contacted my friend.  I decided that it was going to be impossible to get in touch with Facebook quickly enough to do anything.  I felt that if I could take up more of their time at least they wouldn’t be scamming anyone else while they were trying to work me.

At this point the scammer/thief dropped off line.  My friend called me a few minutes later and said they had been contacted by others as well.  They’ve started the recovery process, which I’ve been through and I documented here.

There are lots of things to analyze in this conversation. But I’m not going to waste time on it.  Suffice it to say that it’s shocking and disturbing that someone tries to do these things and prey upon people’s good nature.  Guard yourself and never ever send anyone money without speaking with them on the phone.

I wish there were more I could do.  I’m afraid they are out there scamming more and more people even as you read this.  If you have any suggestions for more that I could do please let me know in the comments.

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Customer Service 101

January 28th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Sometimes we concentrate so much on the minutia of technology that we forget the basics.  Things like saying, “Thank You” and remembering that the customer always comes first.  Making them feel as welcome as possible, online and off.

In the New York area we’ve had an especially heavy snow fall this winter and it’s a big problem.  It’s a problem for businesses for safety, but if you think just safety then you end up with this:

This is my local dry cleaner. I’ve used them for 15 years.  What you can’t see from this picture is the 6″ deep puddle of slush and ice that is formed by the 3 foot wide path he’s cut in the snow bank.  It’s a mess and you must be wearing serious boots to visit his store.

Just 50 feet down the street in the same building is the local deli.  Who has the exact same snow bank to deal with.

Which business do you want to visit?

Be careful you aren’t making the decision this easy for your customers online as well.

It’s easy to do the same thing with your online web presence.

  • Forms that don’t work.
  • Long unnecessary instructions.
  • Complicated procedures.
  • Too many screens to find what you’re looking for.
  • Not providing a phone number or email.
  • Not having up to date information on the site.
  • Withholding price, availability, or other vital info- I’ll just go find it elsewhere thanks to Google.

So give me 1 good reason why you’re not servicing your customers in the best way possible on the web and off?

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Acura’s Bad Idea Facebook Contest

January 27th, 2011 · 3 Comments

AcuraDo you want to win a brand new Acura TSX Sport Wagon?  Great all you have to do is be more popular than anyone else in the country who also wants to win a free $31,000+ car.  Here’s the link to the contest on Facebook.

Here is the basic premise:

All you have to do is work your social network as hard as your quads to earn the most votes. Spread the word on your wall, send friends an email – do whatever it takes to let people know how serious you are about your action sport. The person who scores the most votes will compete like a pro in an all-new TSX Sport Wagon.

Now correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t that a popularity contest?  And again correct if I’m wrong here but don’t just the pretty people, the 1% win these contests?  So isn’t Acura saying to 99% of the rest of the country screw you?

I’ve never been the most popular guy, and frankly I hold a little bit of a grudge against the really popular kids from school.  And I think many people feel that same way.  We’re jealous and envious of them.  It seemed that they always won the prizes and got the gifts anyway.

Is it a great idea to base your marketing campaign on the idea that you can help the most popular kids win a new car? It seems to me that Average Joe, and Plain Jane will look at this for about 3 seconds and decide I’ve never got a chance.  At least with a random contest of some sort there’s a slim chance I’ll win.  But with this I’ve no chance whatsoever.

Eliminate the bottom feeders

Now, we’ve eliminated the common rabble from this contest.  Let’s look at what we’ve got left.  The social elite, the most popular- in social media parlance it’s the INFLUENCERS.

What’s going to happen during the month long contest?  A lot of influencers are going to be Tweeting, Facebooking, and emailing their friends to vote- every day!

Frankly I can’t think of a better way to alienate people to your brand, than to generate a bunch of spam messages across the social media landscape of popular people pleading for my vote so they can win a new car!

Shades of Fast Company’s Influencer Project

So who will win?  I’m thinking the guy with $5,000 to spend on Mechanical Turk or who hires a bunch of people to click in India.  But all of this seems to remind me of something- oh yea!  The Fast Company Influencer Project.  They initially billed it as the best way to determine who had the most influence on the web.  And it was soundly attacked across the blogosphere because it was in reality a popularity contest.  Read Danny Sullivan’s wrap up the results.

After reading Danny’s article I hope that iJustine wins a new car!  She’s a great person and she’s pretty, and an influencer. Which is exactly what the great advertising minds who dreamed up this foolish contest were thinking of, a pretty popular kid.

What Could Acura Do Instead?

They could have a contest where people nominate those who deserve to win cars.  People who run charities and who do good works who deserve to win a new car.  They could ask people to nominate those who work very hard for very little in return, or those who have lost their jobs, their homes and their livelihoods in these tough times.  That would be a contest which would tap into these troublesome times and lift everyone up, instead of rewarding those who are self promoters.

Give me your 1 good reason for a different kind of contest that Acura could run on Facebook.

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